WOW Superstar Amber O'Neal was a recent guest on Women's Wrestling Weekly, here are some highlights.
AMBER O’NEAL SHARES HOW WOMEN’S WRESTLING HAS CHANGED SINCE SHE STARTED
Wow, it’s changed tremendously…that would take a whole interview. But, when I first started… when I first started out I was trained by Leilani Kai, who is a legend, I was very lucky to be introduced to her. Um, and you know she was in, she performed in the first ever WrestleMania and the first ever Survivor Series. So, women, I think she was definitely like a trailblazer and where we are now. And I think when we’re given women these credits we forget that era of women, but uh, when I first started it was definitely one girl’s match, it was the popcorn match, you know, and um, now I think you know, women, with WOW, having it’s all women’s wrestling show, like the first-ever, other than GLOW, all women’s wrestling show, and we have like Charlotte and Becky and those girls headlining, you know, major events… like RAW, Trish and Lita…you know had some main events, those are two of my favorites. And now, AEW, and Impact their all spotlighting women…We’ve really worked hard to get to where it is now and I couldn’t be more proud to be on this journey with all these lovely ladies.
AMBER SHARES THE REASON WHY SHE STARTED WRESTLING AND HER THOUGHTS ON HOW WOMEN WERE PORTRAYED IN THE WRESTLING INDUSTRY
The reason why I started wrestling was because I, um, was a huge Sable fan. I literally did not know a lot about wrestling, um, I just saw her and was like, “Oh, that looks like it would be a cool job. I want to me a women’s wrestler.” But then, I started watching it and I became obsessed with Lita and Trish Stratus, the real athletes of the industry. But I would have to say, until they came along, there was um, a dip, almost like degrading, for women’s wrestling, and I personally feel like that the way that women were being portrayed during that time, like Sable’s role …and Miss “Kat” Kitty, so their roles in wrestling were like degrading, they weren’t being portrayed as athletes. And I think there’s a lot of bra and panties matches and just not a real strong time for women’s wrestling, it was more degrading. So even though I did see this beautiful woman on the television, that I thought would be really cool to be a woman’s wrestler, you know, it wasn’t because of what they are portrayed as now, women are respected for their athletic ability ad during this time that you’re asking me about it was just not a proud time for women’s wrestling.
AMBER SHARES HOW SHE BROKE THE MOLD AND PAVED THE PATH FOR OTHER FEMALE WRESTLERS
Well, we had to stick to our guns because we were asked to do a lot of bras and panty matches, stuff like that. We were like, “No, you know we’re not interested in doing that.” I did start wrestling in a lot of inter-gender matches, which I love, that was literally one of my favorite times… cause to interact with the guys and then the guys would be like, “Oh, you know, these girls can really go.” And I think Lita, and the Hardy Boys and Trish… they were doing a lot of six-man tags back then and I just think it was really up to us to stand our, stick to your guns and say, “No”, we didn’t want to be a part of these types of matches. And we would lose bookings like we were cancelled off shows sometimes. It was just a matter of sticking to your guns… we didn’t want to be a part of that.
AMBER SHARES HER THOUGHTS ON WOW AND WHERE SHE SEES IT GOING
I am so proud of David and what he has made happen. I’m so proud that Jeanie Buss has decided to you know give us this platform and I think it has come a long way since the original like 2000, even though I’m very grateful for that, because I was a huge fan and that was, you know, these girls, they had these larger than life characters and it was very different. And I just feel like I’ve been with David on this journey, I’ve been working with him since 2011 and the first time he ever told me his vision, I was like, I have this similar vision, and I understand what he’s trying to do and I’ve been completely supportive and I’ve stood by his side and it’s been amazing cause there were definitely times that we didn’t think anything was going to happen. 2011, 2012 every year sometimes twice a year we were filming a pilot and then it was getting repackaged. He never gave up and he is a prime example who had a vision and never let anyone like steer him differently from his vision… we’ve brought in some amazing girls, Jessie Belle, Jessie Jones...bringing in Tessa was a huge asset, and you know I’ve know Selina Majors for 20 years actually. She was one of my first matches. And I just really applaud David for what he’s done and just not letting anyone tell him, “Oh, this isn’t going to work. It’s outdated.” He just kept repackaging and low and behold, GLOW, got a Netflix series, the timing was great. He just didn’t give up. I’m very proud by what we’ve been able to accomplish, I think it’s very inspirational for women all over the world… My ultimate goal for WOW is to have a weekly television show and I would love to see us tour the entire world, that’s what I would love to see.
AMBER SHARES WHAT IT’S LIKE BEHIND THE SCENES AT WOW WITH ALL THE NEW UP AND COMING TALENT
You know it is a very interesting dynamic, but I think it’s like for the better. And The reason is, is because, I love that David is mixing like homegrown WOW talent, because we have the WOW training center in Long Beach, and some fantastic talent has come out of that school, which makes me very proud, Selina Majors is the main, our senior teacher there, and um, you got to look at people like the Beast and Faith the Lionness, the Dixie Darlings…Keta, Stephy Slays, thes girls are fantastic athletes and it’s definitely opened up the eyes of a lot of female wrestlers who have come in from other promotions, who have just done professional wrestling…..I’m excited David has introduced us to like these different types of athletes, these girls are professional stunt-women. And honestly, these girls are more athletic than some a lot of girls that just do professional wrestling, to tell you the truth. They are gymnasts…it gives us a lot more to work with and there is no negativity in the locker room. If anything, these girls are so grateful to be in the locker room with us, I’m grateful to be in the locker room with them, I definitely love helping them and it’s a good mix. I love it. I like the dynamic a lot.
AMBER SHARES HER FAVORITE MATCH OF ALL TIME
The most memorable I would have to say is debuting the first-ever women’s wrestling match in New Japan with Maria Kanellis. We were the two first females to lock up in New Japan and that was a really amazing moment.
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